New Bill Cracks Down Further On File-Sharing

A pending bill would eliminate the burden of proof from law-enforcement agencies, making the simple intent to share a copyrighted file grounds for prosecution.

A bill pending before the House of Representatives would make the intent to share a copyrighted file grounds for prosecution, virtually eliminating the burden of proof from law-enforcement agencies.

The proposed bill, submitted by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and co-sponsored by Howard Berman (D-CA) would modify the U.S. Title Code, adding the stipulation that if a user makes accessible a copyrighted file to a file-sharing service without permission he can be charged with up to ten counts of copyright violations.

The bill also would require file-sharing services to alert users that they are downloading "enabling software", or software that could be used to share copyrighted works. The bill would require file-sharing services to stipulate that downloading the P2P application could pose a privacy and security risk to the users computer. Other language in the bill would crack down on the practice of supplying false information to domain name registrars.

The bill is formally titled the "Author, Consumer, and Computer Owner Protection and Security (ACCOPS) Act", a copy of which can be found on the Electronic Frontier Foundations web site. ACCOPS is designed "to encourage the development and distribution of creative works by enhancing domestic and international enforcement of the copyright laws, and for other purposes."

The bill is designed to protect the entertainment industry, Conyers said in a statement.

"Digital piracy is one of the biggest problems facing creators of copyrighted content," Conyers said. "Even though the artists, authors, actors, movie companies, software developers, publishers, and record studios create this countrys number one export, they are suffering because people are taking advantage of technology to share and obtain their valuable content for free."

"On top of that, much of this new technology is creating security and privacy risks for everyday computer users," Conyers added. "While existing laws have been useful in stemming this problem, they simply do not go far enough. That is why Congressman Berman, myself and other Judiciary Committee members are introducing legislation to give consumers, law enforcement, and content creators the tools they need to protect their rights."

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